Activity update

As we rounded out 2023 and kicked off 2024, momentum across our strategic priorities has remained high. Towards the end of last year, we delivered a highly successful National Conference, well-received launch of our legal services report and a productive visit to COP28. And less than two months into this year, we’ve already run several overseas delegations and visits, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the development of the Ukrainian financial and related professional services industry, hosted the launch of The Labour Party’s plan for Financial Services and welcomed the Chancellor to speak at our Annual Dinner…and much more. A more detailed overview of our activities and outcomes is below.

Trust and reputation 

Our 2024 Annual Dinner, sponsored by Shearman & Sterling and held at Raffles Hotel in London, was a great success, welcoming over 250 industry leaders, diplomats, ministers, MPs, regulators, officials and journalists as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who held an ‘in conversation’ with Francine Lacqua, Anchor and Editor-at-Large, Bloomberg TV. Guests also heard an address from our Leadership Council Chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown. You can view the photos from the evening here.

With a UK General Election on the horizon, we continue to maintain strong engagement with the major political parties. We were delighted to host the launch of the Labour Party’s plan for Financial Services at our office, which included a meeting of industry leaders and senior Labour figures: the Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Mayor of London, and exclusive filming by Channel 4 News. We also joined the Labour Business Conference where the report was widely socialised. The event had a strong focus on innovation, modernising the regulatory landscape and driving investment and growth and was also a great opportunity to speak to target media about industry priorities for a future government.

We continue to engage with government on these key priorities and have submitted responses to the upcoming Spring Budget and several other consultations to promote our views. We have also sent written submissions to Labour and the Liberal Democrats to feed into the drafting of their manifestos and engaged with the key advisors working on them. We also continue to meet regularly with key stakeholders from the SNP.

Preparations are well underway for our inaugural Future Skills Conference in partnership with the Financial Services Skills Commission. The event will focus on the skills and talent challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Through keynotes, in conversations and panel sessions we will discuss how to ensure the industry has the skills it needs for the future to continue driving growth and prosperity across the country. You can register to attend this event on our website.

Long term competitiveness

The latest update of our annual ‘Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre’ report was launched last month, showing that, despite the ongoing challenging economic backdrop, the resilience and adaptability of the UK-based financial and related professional services industry remains strong. The report contains the latest facts and data about the industry in the global context and remains a key source of information for industry and government, with contents regularly cited in various publications and speeches.

Our annual report on the legal services sector, ‘Legal excellence, internationally renowned’, which was launched in December, is similarly well-regarded and drawn on by key stakeholders. It also generated good media coverage in outlets such as The Times, City A.M. and key legal trades and a follow up event will take place in the coming weeks with the Lord Chancellor.

We welcomed the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) revised Corporate Governance Code last month, in particular its emphasis on the ‘comply or explain’ principle which aligns with our recommendation that the Code should provide a clear endorsement of ‘explain‘. This ensures that boards have the freedom to demonstrate good governance while setting out why a provision is not suitable in their specific circumstances. We are continuing to engage with the FRC as part of our wider efforts to ensure that the UK’s regulatory regimes are internationally competitive.


We were very pleased to sign an MoU with the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and the London Stock Exchange plc to support the development of the Ukrainian financial and related professional services industry through ‘The City-Ukraine Hub’. The project, supported by the FCDO, will establish a robust framework and supporting financial market infrastructure to underpin a private-sector led recovery. We are working closely with partners across the industry to deliver this important work and will keep members updated on its progress.

We were pleased to see the changes to UK business visitor rules set out by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement – these are ones for which we have long been advocating. The measures provide greater flexibility and agility for firms with a multinational workforce, simplifying and streamlining processes and reducing costs, marking a significant step in maintaining the UK’s competitive edge.

Late last month we travelled to Hong Kong for the Asia Financial Forum (AFF) where we held bilateral meetings with regulators such as Hong Kong Insurance Authority (HKIA), among others, to understand sector-specific developments and opportunities for collaboration. Our engagement with the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC) at AFF also touched upon global issues for financial centres and multilateral collaboration.

In November we visited Washington D.C. and New York for a series of productive meetings and events with members, senior stakeholders and policymakers. Discussions centred around strengthening transatlantic business ties with a strong focus on digital innovation and cooperation. On the back of this, we were delighted to host Superintendent Adrienne Harris of the New York Department for Financial Services in London for a follow-up discussion with members. We will be taking a delegation to the US in the coming weeks.

At the end of last year, our CEO travelled to Switzerland with Joe Cassidy of KPMG, Chair of our Swiss Market Advisory Group, for the signing of the Berne Financial Services Agreement, a commitment from two of the world’s major financial centres to foster deeper cooperation in financial services. Having been involved in the agreement’s negotiation from the offset, this is a notable example of industry and government working in unison and we will continue to collaborate with industry and government on its implementation.

Building on the success of the Anglo-Italian and Anglo-Dutch Financial Services Dialogues, we led a delegation to Berlin for the Anglo-German Financial Services Dialogue, meeting with key stakeholders to discuss further opportunities to collaborate on shared priorities and challenges.

We also attended the meetings of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) and Civil Society Forum (CSF), the formal mechanism for industry, civil society and trade unions from the UK and EU to discuss the implementation and operation of the agreement and raised issues such as mobility, regulatory cooperation, corporate sustainability, and digital trade.

We have responded to the government’s call for evidence on the operation of the National Security and Investment (NSI) Act. We are seeking improvements to the UK’s investment screening process to ensure that it focusses on transactions that pose national security risks and provides a smoother environment for the vast majority of transactions that do not pose such risks.

As part of our ongoing work to support the UK industry for future success in Indonesia, one of the fastest-growing parts of the Indo-Pacific, we hosted a delegation from the Nusantara Capital Authority (OIKN) with the Department for Business and Trade towards the end of last year. We discussed the latest development of Nusantara, Indonesia’s new capital city, and shared our expertise on international financial centre development for possible future collaboration.

At the end of last month, John Cooke, Co-Chair of our Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Expert Advisory Group, was one of three business representatives invited to brief the House of Commons Business & Trade Committee at a private roundtable on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), ahead of a visit to by Committee members to Brussels. We were very clear that strengthening the EU-UK business relationship remains a priority for the industry and noted our hope that the TCA review in 2026 will help to improve market access for services, to the mutual benefit of the UK and EU. We also pressed for the UK to develop a strategy to underline how the UK’s strength in financial and related professional services is a European asset, backed by examples of how greater cooperation – in the movement of business personnel, and recognition of qualifications, for instance – would benefit both UK and EU objectives.

Regions and nations

Last November we held our National Conference, kindly sponsored by PwC, in Manchester. The event, also supported by interactive investor, focused on the industry’s contribution across the regions and nations and its role in supporting issues such as regional growth, levelling up and the net-zero transition. Alongside Bim Afolami MP’s first speech as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, delegates also heard from Treasury Select Committee member, Dame Angela Eagle DBE MP, and Lou Cordwell OBE, Chair of the Greater Manchester Business Board as well as a series of lively panel sessions. You can watch the sessions on our website.

In advance of the nine elections in England for Metro Mayors on 2 May, we are developing bespoke manifestos for each candidate, outlining the key priorities for the industry with a focus on regional activity. Over the last year we have met with most incumbents and look forward to working together and continuing to build on these relationships going forward.

Green finance and sustainability  

At the end of last year, we attended COP28 in Dubai to promote the industry’s enabling role in the global transition to net zero. As well as joining a series of high-profile industry-focused events, including the UN Global Compact Network and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative Climate Finance Summit, we hosted a productive roundtable in collaboration with BNP Paribas on transition finance. Building on the momentum generated at COP28, we are intensifying efforts to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the net-zero transition.

We have also been engaging with key backbenchers interested in the climate change debate to highlight the findings of our ‘Global carbon pricing mechanisms and their interaction with carbon markets’ report and the related policy recommendations we recently published. This has included meetings with the co-chairs of the APPG on sustainable finance and with members of the Conservative Environment Network.